A Guide To The Marsaxlokk Market – Is It Worth It? | Malta

Last Updated on September 7, 2023

Marsaxlokk is a traditional fishing village in Malta, known for it’s colourful Luzzu fishing boats in the harbour. Every Sunday is the Marsaxlokk Fish Market, popular with day tours. But is the Marsaxlokk Market worth it? When doing my research there were so many reviews saying it was busy and crowded and don’t bother, but honestly, I thought it was great. Here’s what to expect when visiting the Marsaxlokk Sunday Market.

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Marsaxlokk Market

Marsaxlokk Fish Market

The fish market is very busy, it’s best to arrive as early as possible. I got there at 9am just before all the bus tours arrived but it was still very busy! I stayed for around 2 hours in total. 

Marsaxlokk Market opening times

When looking online there are no set start or finishing times, it just states ‘early morning until around 1pm‘. It seems that 6am is a good rule of thumb, the early bird catches the worm…or in this case, the fish!

Marsaxlokk Market Malta
Marsaxlokk Market Malta

A lot of the fish for sale around the island comes from the Marsaxlokk fishermen, with them selling to restaurants and businesses at a specialised commercial fish market during the week. However on a Sunday they sell directly to the public.

Fishermen even stand on the harbour wall, fishing and then transferring their catch straight onto the market stall. You can’t get fresher than that!

Marsaxlokk Fishermen Malta
Marsaxlokk Fishermen on the harbour wall

People were literally buying whole plastic bags FULL to the brim of fish. I’m not really up on my seafood and fish names, and most were listed by their Maltese name, but there were also octopus for sale and various shrimp and prawns too.

Marsaxlokk Fish Market Malta
Marsaxlokk Fish Market

Traditional Luzzu Fishing Boats

Of course the harbour was also completely filled up with the traditional Luzzu fishing boats and are great to photograph. These are small wooden boats painted in bright yellow, red, green and blue.

If you look closely, on the front of the boat there are painted eyes. These are said to be the eye of Osiris to protect fishermen while out at sea. Their shape is very similar to that of the Venetian gondolas.

Malta traditional Luzzu fishing boat in Marsaxlokk
Traditional Luzzu Fishing Boats

Other Marsaxlokk Market Stalls

Staying at the Hilton Malta, I obviously had no use for a fresh fish. although it’s interesting to see. The market also sell a range of other goods, catering to both tourists and locals.

As well as fish, the Marsaxlokk Market sells traditional Maltese cakes, fruit and vegetables, handmade crafts, clothing (mostly socks and undies surprisingly…typical market stalls aimed at locals I guess!), toys, souvenirs and more. 

Strawberries on Marsaxlokk Market Malta
Strawberries at Marsaxlokk Market

My favourite stall was ‘WearableWood’. A guy was selling handmade pendants and earrings made out of wood and resin. Inside the resin are things like tiny shells and prickly pear cactus fibre. I bought a turquoise triangle one with cactus fibres inside.

He put it on a black adjustable cord and then put it inside a little drawstring bag for 15 euro. I love it, very unique and very me. He also has an Etsy store that ships worldwide (although the prices are more expensive as they factor in postage costs).

Marsaxlokk WearableWood Malta

Matese Cakes & Sweets

We also bought some of the traditional Maltese cakes; two kannolis (one pistachio and one lemon) and two macaroons (one walnut and one almond). They were quite large and cost 5 euros each. They were very filling though!

(Tip: they are slightly more expensive in the ‘thick’ of the market. There are a couple of stalls on the outskirts selling ones that are a little cheaper but not quite as big).

Marsaxlokk Market Traditional Maltese Cakes
Maltese Cakes

On my Malta Highlights day tour we were given imqarets, which are traditional date cakes. These were for sale at the market too and cost less than 1 euro and were giant! (And are very tasty with Amaretto liquor poured over them!)

There are public toilets at either end of the market. Although during my visit, the block closest to the car park/beach was closed for renovations and the ones on the other end had no toilet paper.

A lesson I’ve learnt from frequent travelling is to ALWAYS carry spare tissues or toilet paper when out and about on day trips! So I was suitably prepared, business as usual.

Things To Do In Marsaxlokk

is Marsaxlokk worth visiting?

When the market isn’t on, there are a few, mostly seafood, restaurants along the waterfront (that are said to be some of the best on the island) but otherwise the village is very quiet. 

Santwarju tal-Madonna ta’ Pompei Church Marsaxlokk Malta
Santwarju tal-Madonna ta’ Pompei Church

A prominent feature of Marsaxlokk is the Santwarju tal-Madonna ta’ Pompei Church, which sits close to the harbour.

On the harbour wall there is a statue of a little boy holding a toy Luzzu waiting for his dad to come home carrying two baskets of fish. It’s done really well as it actually looks like the dad is walking up the steps from the water.

It’s a little tricky to find on market day though, as the stalls surround it!

Marsaxlokk fishing village sculpture
Statue in Marsaxlokk Harbour

In the street that runs parallel to the harbour is a piece of street art with words of positivity and a statement that says ‘we all smile in the same language’, so very true. A smile and kindness goes a long way wherever in the world you are.

Marsaxlokk Malta Mural
Mural in Marsaxlokk

Ballut ta’ Marsaxlokk is a small beach area with clear water. In an ‘instagram vs reality’ moment the beach is right opposite a large shipping container yard and to the left is a giant power factory.

So it’s not the most scenic, but a beach is a beach! Not far from the beach is a small park area with children’s play equipment.

Ballut ta’ beach Marsaxlokk Malta
Ballut ta’ Beach Marsaxlokk

Alternatively, some people choose to walk to St Peter’s Pool, around 30 minutes away (a popular swimming spot in the summer).

Getting To/From Marsaxlokk

There are a couple of different ways to get to Marsaxlokk. A popular option is with a half day tour, often combined with a visit to the Blue Grotto. I often find that sometimes tours can be quite rushed and Marsaxlokk is fairly easy to get to independently. 

I was staying in St Julian’s so took route 120 to Malta hospital and then picked up the 210 down to Marsaxlokk. Journey time was just over 1 hour. The 210 only runs once an hour, so you may need to plan accordingly.

Even with a transfer, as long as the journeys are taken within 2 hours, a single ticket is 2 euros. 

If travelling through Valletta, bus route 81 goes from Valletta to Marsaxlokk approximately every 20 minutes and takes 35 minutes.

As far as I could see, the buses don’t run along the harbour on market day. For the 11am buses back towards Valletta, the bus stops closest to the market were PACKED out. A couple of drivers had to continue on without stopping because they were full up.

Marsaxlokk bus stop
Kavallerizza bus stop in Marsaxlokk

A tip would be to walk down to the Kavallerizza bus stop, next to the football club. This would be just round the corner from the very far end of the market (in the opposite direction of the main church) and is the first stop in Marsaxlokk for buses heading back towards Valletta.

Marsaxlokk Market FAQs

What day is the market in Marsaxlokk?

The Marsaxlokk Market takes place on Sunday mornings.

What is the best time of day to visit Marsaxlokk?

If you are visiting Marsaxlokk for the Sunday fish market, it’s best to visit as early as possible. Between 8am-9am is a good time to arrive, as you should get a little bit of time before the tour buses get there.
If visiting on a non market day, it would be better to visit around lunch or dinner time. This way you can eat at one of the many fish restaurants.

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